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BUILDING REPOSITIONING TRANSFORMING UNDERPERFORMING PROPERTIES INTO VALUABLE ASSETS


As the post-recession commercial real estate market continues to heat up in Washington, DC’s central business district, building owners and developers are responding to the demand for Class A, amenity-rich office space by transforming existing outdated buildings into attention-grabbing properties. To attract specific tenant markets and command higher rents, savvy developers not only update façades and improve the exterior of such buildings, but also modernize interiors and add in-demand features that toptier tenants expect in an upmarket urban work environment. Fitness centers, coffee bars, collaboration lofts, catering kitchens, rooftop terraces, game areas, reconfigurable and expandable conferencing suites—these are the building amenities enticing prime tenants in DC’s core business areas. A decade ago, office design began to embrace open floor plans to encourage staff interaction; now, architects are designing whole buildings to promote connection among tenant groups—or, in the case of retail and hospitality clients, between building occupants and the public. To be competitive in today’s commercial real estate


EXPLORE

market, building owners must recognize the preferences of a millennial-led, tech-driven workforce—one that favors “resimercial” design (which cultivates a home-like atmosphere in a business setting) and neighborhood-style shared amenity environments in which public and private areas blend, further erasing the boundary between the work and non-work realms. Attracting a talented and discerning workforce is not the only reason to reposition a building; developers reap several other benefits from employing this approach. Compared to demolishing an existing building and constructing a new one, repositioning is often a more cost-effective option because portions of existing infrastructure and frame can be salvaged and reused. More measured, less invasive, and less heavy-handed than a total demolition, this revitalization method is particularly relevant for historic and architecturally meaningful properties and accommodates renovations-in-place, allowing tenants to remain in the building during construction without major disruption. Another benefit of building repositioning is increased energy efficiency and, accordingly, decreased maintenance and energy costs. Much of DC’s existing office building stock, constructed in the 1970s and 1980s, is reaching the end of its life cycle—presenting significant opportunities for revitalization. By upgrading building envelopes, replacing major mechanical systems, and reducing water consumption, investors position their properties among other “green” buildings, creating the opportunity to market to tenants committed to environmental sustainability. Combining such energy-efficient improvements with other building enhancements, such as those to exterior and interior finishes, signage, landscaping, and security features, further promotes the elevation of a building to a higher-rent market. The overarching objective of a well-executed repositioning strategy is to make outdated and underperforming properties more competitive with new Class A buildings. Modernized and efficient, a repositioned building with amenities often has lower rents than newer buildings, offering a better value to tenants. The transformation of obsolete buildings into marketable assets—which can then compete in a previously unattainable market—adds significant value to investor portfolios and enables architects to create strong architectural statements.


Normandy Real Estate Partners hired DBI to modernize a 1970s-era, 11-story, 110,587-SF precast concrete office building by transforming it into an energyefficient, Class A commercial workspace. Retaining much of its original design, the building, located around the corner from the Farragut North Metro Station in downtown DC, was termed an “old tired shoe on the Prada rack.� Normandy undertook the project to create a

P R E V I O U S C O N D I T I O N


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REPOSITIONING 1015 18TH STREET prototype of sustainability for future modernizations of commercial office buildings in need of similar renovation and updating. The core components of such facilities (e.g., façade, structure, and vertical circulation) tend to be well conceived and of significant enough value to merit modernization rather than wholesale demolition and new construction. For this reason, salvaging as much of the 1015 18th Street building’s infrastructure as possible and utilizing sustainable elements were fundamental to Normandy’s mission.


V I S I O N I N G


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To revitalize the 1015 18th Street façade, DBI Director Felipe Turriago-Borrero first explored a series of potential modifications that would differentiate it from adjacent— and taller—neighboring building façades. His design of an articulated, highly identifiable architectural feature at the penthouse level successfully interrupted the twodimensional, uninteresting line of building fronts on 18th Street. This design, however, was abandoned during the value engineering process; rather than focusing solely on a monumental façade overhaul, Normandy decided to increase the project’s scope by adding a 3,700-SF penthouse expansion, which, for budgetary feasibility, necessitated a less complex façade design.


A

B

C

D

E

F

1 A310

A

G

B

LEVEL 13 127' - 10 1/4"

D

E

F

LEVEL ROOF 108' - 1 1/4"

LEVEL 11 99' - 0"

LEVEL 10 89' - 2 3/4"

LEVEL 09 79' - 5 1/2"

LEVEL 08 69' - 8 1/4"

LEVEL 07 59' - 11"

LEVEL 06 50' - 1 3/4"

LEVEL 05 40' - 4 1/2"

LEVEL 04 30' - 7 1/4"

LEVEL 03 20' - 10"

LEVEL 02 11' - 0 3/4"

LEVEL 01 0"

EXISTING FACADE ELEVATION 1EX I S TI NG FA ÇA DE

A200

A

1 A300

1 A401

C

2 A200 1 A300

D

1 A401

B

C

1 A300

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E

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3 A310

G

LEVEL 13 127' - 10 1/4"

LEVEL 13 127' - 10 1/4"

LEVEL ROOF 108' - 1 1/4"

LEVEL ROOF 108' - 1 1/4"

3

LEVEL 11 99' - 0"

NEW RETAIL ELEVATION

A200

1/4" = 1'-0"

LEVEL 10 89' - 2 3/4"

LEVEL 10 89' - 2 3/4"

LEVEL 09 79' - 5 1/2"

LEVEL 09 79' - 5 1/2"

LEVEL 08 69' - 8 1/4"

LEVEL 08 69' - 8 1/4"

LEVEL 07 59' - 11"

LEVEL 07 59' - 11"

LEVEL 06 50' - 1 3/4"

LEVEL 06 50' - 1 3/4"

LEVEL 05 40' - 4 1/2"

LEVEL 05 40' - 4 1/2"

LEVEL 04 30' - 7 1/4"

LEVEL 04 30' - 7 1/4"

LEVEL 03 20' - 10"

LEVEL 03 20' - 10"

LEVEL 02 11' - 0 3/4"

LEVEL 02 11' - 0 3/4"

LEVEL 01 0"

LEVEL 01 0"

2

C

1 A310

A

G

EVATION B

B

1 A310

PROPOSED / FACADE / ELEVATIONS

LEVEL 11 99' - 0"

1 A310

E L E VATI O N

1/8" = 1'-0"

D

D / FACADE / ELEVATIONS

A200

NEW FACADE ELEVATION

NE W FA ÇA DE E L E VATI O N 1/8" = 1'-0"

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F

3 A310

G LEVEL 03 20' - 10"

1015 18TH STREET NW / DESIGN DEVELOPMENT / PG 9 03.04.16 4"

C

Felipe now faced a new challenge: to modulate his design while maintaining an energetic and distinctive architectural gesture in the façade. He returned to a symmetrical, gridbased layout, framing the building’s front, but sought to avoid the creation of a monotonous glass façade. Felipe, recalling his formative professional years in his native Colombia, explains: “We cannot fall into what we used to call ‘Ray-Ban architecture.’ Suddenly, a building that had architectural character, good or bad, became a glass façade.” When taking on building repositioning projects, architects must recognize the value of existing buildings “as part of the texture of a city that people recognize,” he comments. “We have to ask how we are going to do something that is as valuable or better than what came before. That is the commitment of DBI Architects—to maintain the integrity of what was there, or to improve it.”

NEW FACADE 1/8" = 1'-0"


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F A Ç A D S T U D

E Y


LEVEL 02 11' - 0 3/4"

LEVEL 01 0"

1

A200

3

A200

2

EXISTING FACADE ELEVATION 1/8" = 1'-0"

A

1 A310

B

C

1 A300

1 A401

D

A200

NEW F 1/8" = 1'-0"

NEW RETAIL ELEVATION 1/4" = 1'-0"

NEW RETA IL ELEVAT IO N

PROPOSED / FACADE / STORE FRONT EL The resolution for the 1015 18th Street façade was to alter the building’s scale by manipulating the spandrel systems in its double-height glass grid, a subtle modification that freed the building front from the floorby-floor uniformity of neighboring building façades. This design also accommodated the enclosure of mechanical riser ducts, enclosing the building’s new, highly efficient chilled beam HVAC system, that ran alongside the façade instead of at the building’s core. From a pedestrian view, the building’s retail areas are distinct, highlighted and encased by a low-


LEVEL 02 11' - 0 3/4"

LEVEL 01 0"

FACADE ELEVATION F

3 A310

CREATE

G

9' - 9 1/4"

LEVEL 03 20' - 10"

11' - 0 3/4"

LEVEL 02 11' - 0 3/4"

8" 8"

E

LEVEL 01 0"

iron, super-transparent glass and, unlike neighboring retail fronts, articulated by a two-story scale created by the building’s entry canopy. The surrounding building façades have no demarcation between retail levels and office areas above; 1015 1015 18TH STREET NW / DESIGN DEVELOPMENT / PG 10 LEVATION 03.04.16 18th Street makes clear this distinction through the application of less-transparent glass at office level. This straightforward yet elegant retail front design integrates into the façade and does not require

obtrusive signage: “the announcement is the building, not a neon sign,” Felipe explains. After repositioning, the retail area will be a more valuable and in-demand space— simply because it is more visible.

S C H E M AT I C S


F I N I S H E S


CREATE


BLDG STG

CREATE

BLDG STG

ENGINEER OFFICE SECURITY

FREIGHT LOBBY

DN

UP

UP

1

2

3

ELEVATOR LOBBY

MAIN LOBBY

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

OFFICE

OFFICE

122 SF

122 SF

CONFERENCE

OFFICE

OFFICE

OFFICE

OFFICE

122 SF

122 SF

122 SF

122 SF

253 SF

WKSTN

OFFICE

OFFICE

154 SF

150 SF

118 SF

DN JAN. CLO.

ELEC. EQUIP.

WKSTN MEN'S WOMEN

72 SF

STAIR DN

2

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

STORAGE

UP

STAIR UP

TELE. EQUIP.

1

WKSTN

WKSTN

STORAGE HUDDLE

WOMEN'S WKSTN

WKSTN

WORK ROOM 212 SF

3

WKSTN DN

ELEC. EQUIP.

JAN. CLO.

TELE. EQUIP.

STAIR

STAIR

UP

1

MEN

TELE. EQUIP.

UP

DN

2

BREAK ROOM

IT / STORAGE

477 SF

133 SF

3

TELE. EQUIP.

STORAGE

WKSTN

50 SF

ELEVATOR LOBBY

RECEPTION

WKSTN

543 SF

CONFERENCE WKSTN

OFFICE

266 SF

122 SF

OPEN TO BELOW

WKSTN WKSTN

WKSTN WKSTN OFFICE

OFFICE

CONFERENCE

OFFICE

OFFICE

OFFICE

122 SF

122 SF

383 SF

122 SF

122 SF

129 SF

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

SINGLE TENANT / OPEN TENANT A

WOMEN DN

ELEC. EQUIP.

JAN. CLO.

TELE. EQUIP.

STAIR

WKSTN WKSTN

STAIR

UP

1

MEN

UP

WKSTN WKSTN

OFFICE

WKSTN WKSTN

DN

2

WKSTN

WKSTN WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN WKSTN

WKSTN

128 SF

1015 18th St Prototypical Layouts

3

WKSTN WKSTN TELE. EQUIP.

ELEVATOR LOBBY

WKSTN WKSTN

WKSTN WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN WKSTN

WKSTN

Single Tenant - Closed Layout 03/20/17 OFFICE

WKSTN

HUDDLE

150 SF

118 SF WKSTN

WKSTN

JAN. CLO.

ELEC. EQUIP.

TELE. EQUIP.

DN

UP

STAIR UP

DN

1

WKSTN

STAIR

WORK ROOM

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

188 SF

2

3

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

IT ROOM WKSTN

TELE. EQUIP.

IT ROOM

54 SF

WORK ROOM

46 SF

85 SF BREAK ROOM 290 SF

BREAK ROOM

HUDDLE

335 SF

HUDDLE

107 SF WOMEN DN

MEN

ELEC. EQUIP.

JAN. CLO.

TELE. EQUIP.

1

RECEPTION

RECEPTION

349 SF

321 SF

107 SF

UP

STAIR

STAIR

UP

DN

2

WKSTN

3

TELE. EQUIP. ELEVATOR LOBBY

OFFICE

OFFICE

121 SF

125 SF

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

CONFERENCE

CONFERENCE

264 SF

270 SF

MULTI-TENANT / CLOSED

P L A N N I N G

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

WKSTN

OFFICE

OFFICE

130 SF

120 SF

TENANT B

1015 18th St Prototypical Layouts Multi-Tenant - Open Layout


CONSTRUCTION


CREATE

To increase the building’s useable area, DBI designed the façade to be moved toward the property line on 18th Street, allowing for the expansion of the penthouse and the addition of the rooftop terrace. Extensive code analysis and coordination with DC government representatives were necessary to accomplish this property line adjustment. Before this renovation, the penthouse could only be reached by using the existing fire stairs; DBI determined how to cut through the roof slab and extend this opening to another, more practical stair. A handicap lift was also installed. By extending the elevators vertically, DBI connected the 11th floor to the penthouse level.

DBI’s repositioning strategy also encompassed the building’s main lobby, restrooms, and elevator lobbies. During the 1970s or 1980s, an aesthetically questionable renovation had been undertaken in the building’s lobby, the result of which was an exposed, oppressive two-story slab cut “featuring” faux landscape boxes and heavy cornices. DBI designed a sophisticated upgrade of the lobby, partially gutting the space, removing the slab edges and beams, and finishing the two-story area with clean and polished lines and planes.


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SIZE

110,587 SF

LOCATION

Washington, DC

COMPLETION March 2018

OWNER

Normandy Real Estate Partners UD USA Inc. (NTT Urban Development Group)

PROJECT TEAM

Normandy Development and Construction Services, LLC Donohoe Real Estate Services DDG Virginia Engineering, PC ETC, Inc.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Eric Taylor Photography

DBI TEAM Felipe Turriago-Borrero, LEED AP Geoffrey Lewis, AIA, LEED AP Michael Patton, AIA Ebong Ukor, AIA, NCARB Steven Foster, AIA Kinga Wojtusiak


TRANSFORM

On behalf of the owners, I would like to commend DBI on its outstanding redesign of 1015 18TH Street NW. DBl’s design transformed the 1970s—era, 11-story, precast concrete office building-in the heart of DC’s central business district—into a sleek and modern architectural statement. Normandy now features this building as one of our top-tier properties in the area. DBl’s team of talented designers were a pleasure to work with during the process of re-imagining, designing, renovating, and repositioning the building. The project’s greatest challenge was determining how to update the façade, which underwent complete removal and replacement. DBI designed a stunning new external structure, placed over three colors of glass, to create a “super grid” of alternating hues that divide planes along a cascading scale of color. All the “bells and whistles” of innovative design were incorporated in the new façade: an energy-efficient, structural silicone-glazed curtain wall system; updated signage and a canopy; and ultra-clear glass to promote visibility and create a more inviting space. In addition, DBI redesigned the two-story lobby and added 3,700 SF of habitable space at the penthouse level for a conference center, restrooms, a wellness center, and a stunning rooftop terrace. Throughout the process, DBI provided responsive and creative design services and seamless construction coordination while keeping our budget constraints in mind. Phased construction in an occupied 45-year-old building went smoothly because we were in great hands. The result of DBl’s skilled efforts is a beautiful, updated building with a strong street presence; Normandy is proud to include this valuable and attractive asset in our portfolio. Anthony Vieira Project Executive Normandy Real Estate Partners


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E X P L O R E / C R E AT E / T R A N S F O R M

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1015 18th Street  

Building Repositioning: Transforming Underperforming Properties into Valuable Assets

1015 18th Street  

Building Repositioning: Transforming Underperforming Properties into Valuable Assets

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